Perseid meteor shower peaks this Wednesday

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Perseid meteors appear to radiate away from the constellation Perseus. (Image from Stellarium)
Amy Sayle, Morehead Planetarium
Science Center
The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks this Wednesday, August 12.

If your skies are reasonably clear, then tonight (Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning twilight) and Wednesday night (until Thursday morning twilight) will be the best time this summer to see meteors.

Meteors are streaks of light created when cosmic debris hits our atmosphere. They are also referred to as “shooting stars,” but they are not related to stars.

It’s usually easy to identify meteors, although last month I made an embarrassing misidentification while serving as the astronomy educator for Paddling Under the Stars. A paddler gently pointed out that the meteor I excitedly claimed to have spotted out of the corner of my eye was actually a firefly.

In honor of the Perseids, this Wednesday—if the weather cooperates—Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will host a skywatching session from 9 to 11 p.m. at Ebenezer Church Recreation Area at Jordan Lake.

For tips on viewing this year’s Perseids, see the American Meteor Society's Web site or the Morehead blog.

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